On Writing..

…In general & in this blog in particular.

The Dilemma

I do like to write. I love the idea of putting my spontaneous thoughts down, documenting experiences worthy of recording, commenting on impressions of people with whom Pat & I interact during our daily lives, & so on. 

But the problem is, (or just one of them) where do I record stuff?

This is a problem for me (& perhaps others) in this day & age. I can’t make a sensible decision, so I’m all over the place. I mean, I have bought some very nice, leather-bound journals to record my “memoirs” in, rather akin to the books you see in romantic films & also like the lovely – even after 100 years – diary that my mother, Flora wrote into, in 1926.


edited diary

But unfortunately, the ones I’ve got, although they look very nice & even feel lovely to hold, aren’t so easy to actually write in. I think I’ve got about 3, by the way, & none of them sit flat when open for entry. Nor is the paper that you write on in all of them, very emotionally appealing to me, being reminiscent of recycled paper.

Not so long ago I did buy a pleasant orange covered booklet & even used it for over a year. The size is convenient being about 8 inches by 6, but I’m often frustrated by the way the paper seems to pick up oils from fingertips so that the pen marks don’t actually record!

I’ve got a Moleskin or 2 as well, tucked away in drawers or cabinets somewhere, but don’t really want to have little snippets of stuff spread around over just a few pages in each.

In some way, technology has come to my aid, in that MS Word is very easy to access nowadays, seeing as stuff can be stored in the cloud & thus is accessible from each of my computers. As well, Word files can now be converted automatically to “Doc” (Google Docs) & so are obtainable from any of my PCs that have access to the Web.

So, what’s the problem, you may ask? Well, the dilemma arises from the conflict of the idea of writing in the paper journals being harder than the convenience of typing the words into a computer. At my age, 73, a journal should be paper based, for posterity, you understand .

As well, my handwriting is terrible, really poor in both formatting, shape, consistency & the occasional dyslexic indication. It’s also too slow for me..too tedious. So, I tend to yearn for writing my stuff into a lovely, sensuous journal, sitting on our deck in the sunshine, but more often fall back upon plumping myself down in front of the computer screen & being able to get the words down in a reasonable speed. Not that I’m a very good typist – I do make lots of mistakes, but at least I can type without looking at the keyboard, apart from symbols.

Finally, there is the matter of reading my stuff. Will anyone, after I’m gone, care enough about me to want to read my reminiscences? Will they be able to, if stored on a long-gone computer, in an outmoded format? Will those words even exist in later years, or will my hard work & reflections on life be thrown away along with a dead hard drive?

So that’s where a paper-based record comes in. And, on top of the minor irritations mentioned above, there is another. I just don’t find it very comfortable to sit in a chair with my paper notebook on lap, & to write away. It’s just a bit uncomfortable.



Signs of Spring ..at last

Rhododendrons are on the verge of breaking out, daffodils are poking shoots up from the waterlogged gardens, & snowdrops are adding tiny splurges of white & purple to flower beds. And, it’s quite mild, around 12C this week. Yippee! IMG_0191
We had a walk around the neighbourhood a couple of days ago, about 3 miles or so, & saw some very reassuring evidences of spring. IMG_0194-001
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Winter’s With Us…


I mean, nothing’s happened to the calendar, it’s just as if this year has gone by, in a flash. And, at our age, that’s exactly the opposite of what we want – we want our remaining time on earth to drag on, not flash by like the way movies used to depict the passage of time – by showing calendar pages flipping over & over.

And yet, it’s the first of December tomorrow, less than a month now until my birthday. There was a break in the drizzle the other day & Pat & I put up some Christmas lights. We put a strand around the monkey puzzle tree, at great person risk, I can tell you, of not only falling down the rock-strewn slope but also of being stabbed by the incredibly sharp points on all the leaves of the monkey puzzle tree – hence its name, by the way.


So the weather drove me indoors for may lukewarm sense of photo-making, & I tried my hand at macro & still lifes. here’s one, above of some found leaves, & below is a close-up of a geranium flower, gone to seed. I love the way the seed cases spiral when the seed itself has gone.



And then, in a flash…

…It was autumn again! But at the tail end, with only a month to go before winter starts on December 1st (really it does, not on the 21st) we had a gorgeous burst of perfect fall days. Beautiful mellow light, filtered among occasional cloud & trees balding with old age, almost completely still air, & temperatures hovering just below 20C.

So we got out & about, both on foot & by car. In town & along  well travelled walkways.


Day after day the perfect weather continued & the winding & hilly country roads were a true delight to waft along, bordered by red maples & golden oaks.dsc1528.jpg

Well, that was quick…

…Summer, I mean. It took a long time coming, was reliably warm & sunny when it did arrive, but now, during the first week of October, we seem to be well into the “season of mist & mellow fruitfulness”. There’s not much colour around yet (and VanIsle doesn’t really get the glorious shades of Eastern Canada) but autumn is hovering, ready to segue into winter.

We’ve had visitors, both human & non-human, including our regular deer who continues to dislodge the bird feeder on the stairs up the rockface, despite my moving the feeder up twice, each time a couple of feet. How she can reach up over 2 meters to dislodge the birdseed is surprising. The Stellar Jays in their wonderful combinations of black & almost iridescent blues have returned, & Sid, Pat’s Glaucous Gull has survived his gobbling up of his feeding spoon along with his daily large helping of cat-food, uneventfully.

Our most recent visitors are a large family of California Quail, a dozen or so. They are very picturesque when mature with the funny-looking topknot they have, but their movements, a hurried scurry, is appealing as well.


As well, I’ve been trying (mostly failing) to take some macro photographs. Macro meaning extreme 1:1 size pictures. You can’t do that with an ordinary lens as they don’t allow close focussing, but with extension tubes or even a dedicated macro lens, you can get an amazing insight into how our world is composed.

But I found/find it very difficult to get sharp pictures of, say, insects because of the limitations of depth of field. You really need a tripod to avoid camera shake, so instead I tried some still lifes. This is a geranium flower, post flowering. See how the seeds come out in a whorl?



A Spring Country Drive

Well, I’m almost hesitant to say this, but now, at the last day of the first week of May, it looks as if spring has finally arrived.

As evidence, we have gone about 3 days without rain & with abundant sunshine – Yippee!

Last week we had temperatures that reached 20C! . That didn’t last, mind you, but at least it’s warm enough to sit outside with our coffees & a book, to read, discuss the issues of the day and to observe the birds courting, arguing & feeding on the seeds that we’ve put out for them.

We went on a longish drive to a fjord on the west coast, where we could see snow on the mountains, seals in the ocean & people in shorts. It was a perfect day to wind our way over the mountains & along twisty roads in a sports car!


Looks like spring, but…

….It’s still raining. Often, almost daily. Showers mostly, but still! So we have had to dodge out to take advantage of the few lovely, sunny days we’ve had since meteorological spring arrived 2 months ago.

But we had one last week & took the Z car out for a spin to see the blossoms in the neighbourhood. And lovely they were. We took the top down & ambled along by the sea shore to Ladysmith. Took a walk along the sands to see the boats. Lovely!